Welcome to the fifth edition of Your SAP Investment Unleashed, a column from Kristen Scheffler, Vice President of Customer Evolution for North America, SAP, and VerNeil Mesecher Jr., Senior Director of Customer Engagement Events Liaison for North America, SAP. Together, they’re part of SAP Customer Evolution, an organization focused on supporting, guiding, educating, listening to, and enabling customers to get the most out of their SAP investments.

Today’s column was authored by VerNeil Mesecher Jr., who reflects on his experiences in the SAP Customer Evolution organization and across the ASUG community. ASUG thanks VerNeil, who officially retired from SAP on April 30, 2024, for his tireless efforts and enthusiastic embrace of the ASUG mission to help our members learn, connect, grow, and maximize the value of their SAP investments.

Within our interactions with members of the ASUG community, as part of the SAP Customer Evolution team, we consistently hear from SAP customers who remain unaware or unclear on how to extract value from their existing investments in SAP Support. It’s incumbent upon SAP to help its customers identify and leverage their entitlements to get value from their investments.

Reflecting on this pressing reality brought the SAP Customer Evolution team—including myself and our leader, Kristen Scheffler—toward the concept of a “pilot” role, focused on expanding our efforts to engage and educate customers around their entitlements within SAP Support.

From proactively introducing customers to value map experts in areas such as security and data volume, to connecting those customers with their peers to discuss shared challenges around training and support, our SAP Customer Evolution team became dedicated to fostering connections in our customer community.

A Formula for Success

Building off the team’s previous ASUG Chapter engagements, which included a nine-province roadshow through Canada that started in Vancouver and ended in Halifax, this new role focused on helping customers realize value and rapidly accelerated our engagement with ASUG Chapters.

Showing customers how to start using what they’re already paying for was, understandably, a formula for success. ASUG Chapter volunteers quickly embraced our sessions, which covered SAP Support topics such as the Customer Evolution Kit, created to support customers pursuing digital transformation, and the large library of SAP instructor-led and self-paced training courses (all included in your SAP Support investment). And our presentations reflected positively upon the commitment SAP has made to support ASUG Members and the SAP installed customer base.

As our level of engagement snowballed within the ASUG community, the decision was made to create a dedicated role, solely focused on supporting ASUG Chapters, coordinators, and staff. The mission of this role was to create and provide consistent, current, and relevant content that customers could leverage to master their SAP investments and make the most of their ASUG membership. I was offered the role (and, of course, quickly and gladly accepted). For everyone, this was the best of both worlds, allowing me to pursue my passion for engaging with customers and helping them to realize more value from their technology implementations.

Through this role, I engaged with ASUG across its 38 North American chapters as part of a “Leave No Chapter Behind” campaign, resulting in 76 SAP sessions through which we shared valuable SAP content with a total of over 2,900 ASUG Members. This experience allowed me to make substantial connections with ASUG Members and empowered me to articulate the true value of the SAP Customer Evolution team. At no additional cost to them, we were helping SAP customers to get the most value out of their technology investments, understand what they already had access to, and to invest strategically in the future of their organizations.

Of course, these connections extended much further beyond that scope of work. It’s been a privilege to connect customers with one another, so they can share their experiences, using their own successes and challenges to help others gain knowledge and overcome obstacles on the road to modernization.

The Value of SAP Support

Over the years, I have seen firsthand the value that ASUG—and its networking and community efforts—bring to its members. I’ve realized that SAP and ASUG have missions that, in their joint focus on member or customer value and technology progress, run powerfully in parallel.

ASUG events have also given me an opportunity to address popular misunderstandings in the SAP customer community. For example, I’ve heard countless conversations around the 2025 and 2027 “end of mainstream maintenance” deadlines. Mainstream maintenance for the latest three enhancement packages of SAP ERP 6.0—including SAP ERP Central Component (ECC)—ends Dec. 31, 2027, followed by an optional extended maintenance phase until Dec. 31, 2030. For customers on SAP ERP 6.0 with enhancement packages 1 to 5, or without enhancement packages, mainstream maintenance ends earlier, on Dec. 31, 2025, after which point customers will automatically be moved to customer-specific maintenance. (For more information about maintenance timelines for SAP ERP 6.0, including how you can find your release and enhancement package level, click here.)

SAP customers have options when it comes to their migration strategies, and SAP will remain committed to serving the success of its customers no matter which option they choose. (That said, if customers want next-generation ERP innovation, they should begin the process of implementing SAP S/4HANA.)

I've also seen how many customers view SAP Support simply as a vehicle for submitting request tickets (aka incidents or OSS messages). While that is certainly a component of any IT support service, SAP customers must also be aware of the many support tools and assets they can access—which are already included with their SAP Support investment! The SAP Customer Evolution team has focused primarily on these entitlements during our presentations at ASUG Chapter events and national conferences. Attendees always come up to us afterward saying, “I had no idea we had access to all this! And you’re telling me someone from the SAP Customer Evolution team can meet with my organization and educate all of us (and our partners), regarding everything we are entitled to (at no additional charge)?”

These ASUG Chapter events and customer requests for follow-up engagements validated that our mission to ensure customers are getting value from their SAP investment was working. We quickly determined how to support ASUG in providing value to their members, through:

  1. Providing a safe harbor for customers to research, validate, learn, find answers, request help, and reach resolutions.
  2. Learning from SAP, partners, and peers.
  3. Connecting with other peers for lessons-learned and best-practice sharing.
  4. Growing personally and professionally through the community ASUG offers.

I’ve observed the value that ASUG provides to SAP, offering customers a community in which to research, learn more, validate their strategies to create business plans, drive value, build or rebuild relationships, improve customer satisfaction, and support their transformation journey plans.

An Incredible Journey

Another impressive observation I’ve made at ASUG Chapters has been how passionate and committed ASUG volunteers, coordinators, and staff are to helping their fellow members learn, connect, and grow. This commitment ensures attendees always have a positive experience during ASUG Chapter events. The time and effort spent "behind the curtain" to plan relevant content, identify memorable venues, and select top-tier speakers from partners and SAP is mind-blowing.

I’m also impressed by how the ASUG staff and leadership are constantly working to strike the right balance in helping, supporting, and at the same time promoting autonomy and flexibility to ASUG Chapters. All the while, they’re ensuring that clear, current, accurate, and consistent content is shared at these events and that it’s aligned with ASUG’s overall strategy for member value.

Recently, SAP Customer Evolution worked to create an “abstract menu” of ten hot topics for ASUG Chapters to review and select from when identifying content and creating agendas. This “menu” selection of current and relevant topics has significantly streamlined and reduced the amount of effort for ASUG Chapter volunteers and ASUG coordinators during the Call For Speakers process and has received positive feedback from Chapter volunteers and members. So far, so good, as our most popular sessions make apparent.

This amazing, rewarding partnership between SAP and ASUG has allowed me the opportunity to fuel my passion for helping customers in numerous ways, and I’ve built a wonderful network of friends and associates along the way. It has been the highlight of my 17 years at SAP! I want to offer my sincere thanks to everyone at ASUG and SAP for their camaraderie, team spirit, and the hard work they put into making this partnership between ASUG and SAP so strong and successful. It has been an honor and a pleasure to have been a part of this incredible journey during my time at SAP. Thank you, and happy trails!


VerNeil Mesecher, Jr.

(ASUG Guy)

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